Motor racing returned to Goodwood after 27-year hiatus in 1993. That year, Lord March tentatively hosted the first Festival of Speed. Even that first edition attracted a surprisingly large crowd of 25,000 enthusiasts and the event soon grew out to be the single largest of its kind now welcoming over 185,000 visitors. This year, the Festival of Speed will celebrate its 20th anniversary with 'the best of the first 20 years'. Other celebrations will include the 50th anniversary of McLaren, Lamborghini and the Porsche 911. In 1998, the racing program was expanded with the Revival meeting on the old circuit. This period pageant proved an equally great success. This September the career of the late Jim Clark will be marked, while the 50th anniversaries of the Ford GT40 and Ferrari 250 LM will also take centre stage.
To announce the plans for the 2013 season, Lord March invited the media to the Goodwood House this week for the official Press Day. The 141-strong entry-list was more than strong enough to carry a full event but at Goodwood it provides only a taster of what is to come. We were on hand and have captured all the action in this 150-shot gallery
Festival of Speed (July 12 - 14
Goodwood holds a bittersweet place in McLaren's history; many of the cars were first seen in action the West Sussex circuit but it also the place where founder Bruce McLaren lost his life after the rear bodywork came off his McLaren M8D during testing. At this year's Festival of Speed the company's 50th anniversary will be celebrated and McLaren was already out in force bringing three pivotal cars; the M8D Chevrolet driven to the 1970 Can-Am title and a sister car to the one Bruce McLaren crashed fatally, the F1 GTR driven to outright victory in the 1995 Le Mans and seen in action for the first time in over a decade and the MP4-23 Mercedes used by Lewis Hamilton to score McLaren's final World Driver's Championship back in 2008. One of Bruce McLaren's final projects was the development of a production road car. This dream had already become a reality with the F1 of the 1990s but McLaren can now be considered to be a proper manufacturer with the popular MP4-12C range. All versions, including the limited edition Can-Am Edition, were on hand in Goodwood.
Taking centre stage, quite literally, at the Festival of Speed will be the Porsche 911, which was launched as the '901' at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. The iconic German sports car will star on the 'central feature' sculpture in front of the Goodwood House and some of the most important examples will also be driven up the hill. The 911 variants will also be joined by a selection of exciting Porsche racing cars that include the 908, 917 and 962. At the Press Preview all seven generations of the 911 road car were showcased with a spectacular line-up. Also on hand was a race prepared 911 that will be raced by Porsche UK under the Team Project 50 banner in select events by famous Porsche drivers, including Richard Attwood.
Also celebrated at the Festival of Speed will be 90 Years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 60 Years of the World Endurance Championship, 50 Years of Lamborghini, 40 Years of the World Rally Championship, 20 Years of the Festival of Speed, the European Touring Car Championship and 50 Years of both the Mini Cooper S and Lotus Cortina.
Bonhams Festival of Speed sale (July 12)
A founding partner, auctioneer Bonhams held one of their best sales at last year's Festival of Speed and they look determined to do even better on July 12th. In order to do so, the British company consigned the only Mercedes-Benz W196 that is currently in private hands. The ex-Juan Manuel Fangio 1954 German Grand Prix winner once changed hands for over well over $10 million and certainly has the potential to break the record for the most expensive car sold at auction. Unfortunately, the 'Silver Arrow' was not in attendance at the Press Day but Bonhams did bring out several other cars due to cross the block in Goodwood. Among them was the Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 once owned by John Lennon and painted in an evocative French blue. Sir John Whitmore was reunited with 'his' ex-Alan Mann Racing Lotus Cortina. Driven to the 1965 European Touring Car Championship title, it has survived in remarkably original condition. Other interesting machines brought by Bonhams was a lovely Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 and a Bentley R-Type Continental. Also announced for the sale but not in attendance was an early Maserati 300S, which was ordered new by Briggs Cunningham.
Revival (September 13 - 15)
Each year, the Goodwood Revival celebrates the achievements of a racing driver that starred at the Motor Circuit between 1948 and 1966. This year this honour is bestowed on the late Jim Clark. Although no particular reason is really needed, the occasion celebrated is the 50th anniversary of the Scot's first World Championship. He will be honoured with a daily track parade, which promises to include many of the great racing drivers he campaigned throughout his career. Pedal bike racing is a personal passion of Lord March and he will celebrate the 110th anniversary and 100th edition of the legendary Tour de France with another special parade. In addition to riders on period bikes, this will also include a cavalcade of often very colourful support and promotional vehicles. Another 50th anniversary celebrated at the Revival will be that of the development of the Ford GT40 and for this year the Whitsun Trophy will be reserved exclusively for the successful Anglo-American sports racer. An exception will be made for the Lola Mk6, which served as the basis for the GT40. Several GT40s were already on hand during the Press Preview including the actual 1966 Le Mans winner, which considering its value will most likely not race come September.
One of the GT40s closest rivals was the Ferrari 250 LM, which was also introduced back in 1963. For the first time since 2000, the mid-engined Ferrari will be eligible for the prestigious Tourist Trophy race where it will be pitched against 250 GTOs, Cobras, E-Types and a variety of Aston Martins. As each year, the value of the grid of this single race is expected to be well over GBP 150 million. Set to be another highlight on the schedule is the Freddie March Memorial Trophy. Running into the night on Friday, the 90-minute race celebrates the Goodwood Nine Hours held between 1952 and 1955. The two-race St Mary's Trophy will be held this year for touring cars from 1960 to 1966 and will see Minis and Cortinas pitched against much bigger Jaguar MkIIs and Ford Galaxy 500s. Single seaters on the roster at the Revival include pre-War Grand Prix cars (Goodwood Trophy), mid-engined Grand Prix cars (Gordon and Glover Trophies) and front-engined Formula Juniors (Chichester Cup).
If you can visit one or both of the Goodwood events, we strongly encourage you to do so. We will certainly be at Goodwood for both, so if you can not visit in person, we will make sure you won't miss out on any of the action. As always, tickets are only available ahead of the two events and in recent years they have sold out well in advance. To order the tickets, Goodwood can be reached at +44 1243 755055 (telephone), +44 1243 755058 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org